The word “biosphere” describes places where life can flourish and represents all of the Earth’s living creatures, while “reserve” indicates an important area of the world that’s been recognized for its unique qualities. UNESCO chose these terms specifically so they could be understood by people everywhere. Areas designated as biosphere reserves are not cut off from human use and development—human activity and the health of local people and communities play an important part in their mandate. These territories are places where conservation and the sustainable use of resources coexist.
Lac Saint-Pierre is a major component of the St. Lawrence Lowlands and over 90% of the land has remained untouched. Its fertile wetlands have made it a vital stopping-off point for migratory birds.
Over 280 species of resident and migratory birds have been observed here. As the region is traversed by one of the world’s most heavily trafficked inland waterways, the St. Lawrence Seaway, and located near a busy industrial park, the area’s major players reconciled their economic activities with ecological concerns by adopting the St. Lawrence Action Plan.
Today, the Lac Saint-Pierre World Biosphere Reserve is a bastion of economic and environmental cooperation.
Geese migration and the floodplainsEach year, Lac Saint-Pierre witnesses an incredible resurgence of life. The spring thaw floods tens of thousands of hectares of waterfront land. This vast territory, called the floodplains, is a unique ecosystem where spawning grounds fill with fish and wetlands with lush plant life at the end of the season. It’s an area that must remain protected, and one that you can discover with the help of our guides, trained in biology and passionate about flora and fauna.
The flooding triggers the arrival of thousands of snow geese. Friendly and informative guides explain this floodplain phenomenon and waterfowl migration with a visit to the Interpretation Centre and to the floodplains. No need for special equipment or footwear—just bring warm, comfortable clothes, a camera and binoculars.
SARCEL (Société d'aménagement récréatif pour la conservation de l'environnement du Lac Saint-Pierre) oversees controlled hunting in the region. It should be noted that only goose hunting is permitted in the springtime. Safety is the top priority and hunting is prohibited in the observation areas.
There is a great wealth of flora and fauna to see both on land and in the wetlands. This is the season when birds make their nests. Spotting mother ducks with their young, tails all in a row, playing in the marsh while terns dart overhead is a highlight of any summer trek. Water sports are also very popular, such as kayaking, rabascaw trips, boating and sport fishing. For more information about fishing, visit the Lake Trek section.
The passage of migratory birds headed south before the first snowfall is one of the many sights you can enjoy when hiking here in the fall.
This is the time when the snow geese return, although not as spectacularly as in previous years due to declining numbers. Nevertheless, there are around 50,000 who make a long stopover in the permanent swampland, where fall hunting is forbidden. The last of them begin their southward journey only when ice covers the marsh.
SARCEL supplies sport hunters with waterfowl licences, for duck, snow geese and Canada geese. Hunting is, however, prohibited in the observation areas, and is practised in a secure manner. SARCEL, a non-profit organization, can provide sport hunters with all the information and resources they’ll need.
Winter is ice fishing season. Pike, perch and walleye are among the catches most prized by sport fishers at this time of year.
Safety is our main priority. Once the ice is sufficiently thick, huts start appearing all over the lake as the cold sets in, generally at the beginning of January. The season lasts on average about 50 days, but can sometimes extend until the beginning of March. There are many outfitters who can rent all the gear necessary for a good ice fishing session.
As well as ice fishing, you can enjoy snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing or just a casual walk in the winter wonderland we call home.